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West Bromwich Albion 2-0 Preston North End: Darnell Fisher sees red as Baggies go seven clear

Jake Livermore scores
Midfielder Jake Livermore's goal was his third of the season for the Baggies

West Bromwich Albion moved seven points clear at the top of the Championship with a deserved victory that dented visitors Preston's promotion bid.

North End were reduced to 10 men with 25 minutes to go when Darnell Fisher was sent off for a reckless challenge, but the impressive Baggies had already taken full control of the game in wintery conditions.

Hal Robson-Kanu chested down Callum Robinson's left-wing cross and clipped the ball under Declan Rudd to open the scoring early on with his 10th goal of the campaign.

Moments before half-time, Jake Livermore fired in with a crisp half-volley from Robson-Kanu's knock-down to double the lead and the hosts could have added further goals after the break.

Victory was the Baggies' fifth in six games without a defeat and moved them 10 points clear of third-placed Nottingham Forest.

Preston stayed sixth but missed the chance to move within just three points of second-placed Leeds United, who travel to Middlesbrough on Wednesday.

But the Lilywhites did not lose ground on their two closest play-off rivals, as fifth-placed Brentford lost at Luton Town and seventh-placed Bristol City were beaten at Huddersfield Town - both by 2-1 scorelines.

Alex Neil's men were second best against the impressive league leaders and failed to have an effort on target in the match.

Their hopes of mounting a second-half comeback were severely dampened when Fisher was shown a straight red card for a poor challenge on the lively Robinson.

They were then fortunate that the hosts did not add to the scoreline, as Rekeem Harper struck the crossbar in the closing stages, after Rudd had saved well from substitute Charlie Austin.

West Bromwich Albion boss Slaven Bilic told BBC WM 95.6:

"We were playing against a team that is normally one of the top in the league. We got the ball in good areas and showed our technique on the ball. That was key.

"We were simply on another level today. Hal [Robson-Kanu] is a striker where his game doesn't depend on whether he's going to score or not because he's playing as a number 10.

"When he scores it's magnificent and the whole season he's been a top performer for us."

Preston North End manager Alex Neil:

"I think the biggest disappointment is the cheapness of the goals that we conceded but you have to give them credit as well, they are a quality side.

"We were going to have to play extremely well, be clinical and defend really well to get anything tonight. I didn't think we were clinical enough and we didn't defend our box well enough.

"We need to put this one behind us now because we have some big games coming up."

Line-ups

West Brom

  • 1Johnstone
  • 27O'Shea
  • 6Ajayi
  • 26Hegazi
  • 14Townsend
  • 16Harper
  • 8Livermore
  • 7Krovinovic
  • 12Costa PereiraSubstituted forPhillipsat 72'minutes
  • 4Robson-KanuSubstituted forAustinat 82'minutes
  • 47RobinsonSubstituted forGrosickiat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Furlong
  • 5Bartley
  • 10Phillips
  • 13Grosicki
  • 15Austin
  • 18Barry
  • 23Bond

Preston

  • 1Rudd
  • 2FisherBooked at 64mins
  • 21Bauer
  • 6Davies
  • 16Hughes
  • 4Pearson
  • 8Browne
  • 29BarkhuizenSubstituted forStockleyat 84'minutes
  • 11Johnson
  • 24MaguireSubstituted forPottsat 85'minutes
  • 35NugentSubstituted forSinclairat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Clarke
  • 12Gallagher
  • 15Rafferty
  • 20Stockley
  • 25Ripley
  • 31Sinclair
  • 44Potts
Referee:
Kevin Friend
Attendance:
22,150

Match Stats

Home TeamWest BromAway TeamPreston
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home21
Away5
Shots on Target
Home9
Away0
Corners
Home7
Away2
Fouls
Home8
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, West Bromwich Albion 2, Preston North End 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, West Bromwich Albion 2, Preston North End 0.

Attempt missed. Filip Krovinovic (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Rekeem Harper.

Rekeem Harper (West Bromwich Albion) hits the bar with a right footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Dara O'Shea.

Hand ball by Scott Sinclair (Preston North End).

Attempt missed. Filip Krovinovic (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Brad Potts replaces Sean Maguire.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Jayden Stockley replaces Tom Barkhuizen.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Declan Rudd.

Attempt saved. Charlie Austin (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Kamil Grosicki.

Attempt missed. Patrick Bauer (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Daniel Johnson with a cross following a corner.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Charlie Austin replaces Hal Robson-Kanu.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Dara O'Shea.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Kamil Grosicki replaces Callum Robinson.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Scott Sinclair replaces David Nugent.

Attempt saved. Callum Robinson (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Filip Krovinovic.

Attempt blocked. Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Conor Townsend.

Ben Pearson (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jake Livermore (West Bromwich Albion).

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Matt Phillips replaces Matheus Pereira.

Attempt blocked. Jake Livermore (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Tom Barkhuizen.

Dismissal

Darnell Fisher (Preston North End) is shown the red card.

Foul by Darnell Fisher (Preston North End).

Callum Robinson (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Offside, Preston North End. Ben Pearson tries a through ball, but Sean Maguire is caught offside.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Rekeem Harper.

Sean Maguire (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Dara O'Shea (West Bromwich Albion).

Attempt missed. Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Matheus Pereira with a cross following a corner.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Darnell Fisher.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Patrick Bauer.

Attempt blocked. Callum Robinson (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Conor Townsend with a cross.

Offside, West Bromwich Albion. Callum Robinson tries a through ball, but Hal Robson-Kanu is caught offside.

Foul by Ben Davies (Preston North End).

Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Alan Browne (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion).

Foul by Andrew Hughes (Preston North End).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1West Brom351912464362869
2Leeds34188849301962
3Nottm Forest351611846331359
4Fulham34169948371157
5Brentford351681157312656
6Preston35168114940956
7Bristol City35158124951-253
8Blackburn341491150401051
9Swansea34131294442251
10Cardiff35121494848050
11Millwall34121394039149
12QPR35137155359-646
13Sheff Wed34129134441345
14Derby351112124348-545
15Birmingham34129134552-745
16Reading34119144138342
17Hull34118154853-541
18Charlton34109154448-439
19Huddersfield35109164156-1539
20Stoke34114194353-1037
21Middlesbrough34813133444-1037
22Wigan34810163450-1634
23Luton35103224270-2833
24Barnsley34710174158-1731
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